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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

WILLIAM  TO>?   HT7MBOLBT.                   255
care. But Humboldt would probably have been as
great without this eare? for the love of self-improve-
ment was one of the strongest impulses of his soul.
His mind was open to all impressions, and the only
requirement of such a mind was to begin and end his
life in a period of progress and of great events., and
this also fell to Humboldt's lot.
Having formed his taste and judgment by the study
of the ancients, he became the intimate friend and
adviser of the two great pillars of German literature,
Schiller and Goethe, and although he never produced
such brilliant works, Ms name must be intimately
blended with theirs, from the influence he exercised on
the opinions and the productions of these two great
German poets.
The revival of philosophical science by Kant also
took place during the youthful  years of Hnmboldt^s
life.    This new system made a great impression upon
Mm at a very early period, and he adopted it in tlie
strictest sense of the word.    It remained the basis of
his thought, and served him as a guide, even when he
went beyond it.    He is justly counted among those
who extended the boundaries of this system of philo-
sophy, partly by the aesthetic researches which he pro-
secuted in  conjunction  with Schiller,  partly by the
establishment of a philosophy of language which we
owe to his studies in this direction.     In political life,
also, his star did not desert him, but permitted him
to take part in the so urgently required re-organization
of  the   fatherland,   in   conjunction    with   the most
honoured names of the age., and to quit this sphere
at the right moment., when nothing more could be
expected but loss of the achieved honour and reputa-
tion.    And in the leisure moments of Ms old age he
devoted   himself  to   linguistic  and   comparative  re-
searches, and became as great and important on this
field as his brother is on the field of natural history.
Humboldt's character is mirrored in the .choice of
Ms friends and in Ms friendships; the highest, greatest.,
and noblest minds were intimately allied with him.